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  • Writer's pictureDahlia Foundation

Could Venezuela’s diaspora hold the key to its opposition primary race?

Bogota, Colombia – Ever since Gisela Serrano fled Venezuela in 2018, the 53-year-old has felt like she has one foot in her adopted home of Colombia and another in her native country, where she hopes to one day return.

For that to happen, though, the country’s humanitarian crisis would need to improve. So Serrano, a migrant rights activist, follows the political situation in Venezuela closely.

But until recently, she has been unable to vote in Venezuelan elections. A migrant herself, she has no valid passport, and the Venezuelan embassy in Bogota, where she currently resides, had been shuttered until September.

“It’s unfair,” said Serrano. “You feel helpless, watching everything happening from afar.”

On Sunday, however, Serrano and thousands of other Venezuelans from the diaspora will vote for the first time in a presidential primary. In the independently organised election, voters will choose a single candidate to challenge President Nicolas Maduro in the 2024 general elections.

Organisers of the opposition primary have sought to widen out-of-country voting by allowing Venezuelans abroad who are listed in voter rolls to update their information and cast a ballot.

“We want to highlight that there are millions of Venezuelans abroad that are being denied their fundamental right to vote,” said Ismael Pérez, a member of the National Primary Commission (CP).

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